IBM Blue MIX Cloud
Now a day’s cloud is everywhere, and it drastically changed the way information is stored and shared. Cloud computing forces organizations to apply new business models, and teams have to re-invent the way they develop and deliver applications. In this article, I present brief introduction about IBM Bluemix cloud.
Cloud is mainstream
More and more businesses are moving to the cloud to achieve better flexibility, reduce costs, and enable IT innovation. Cloud computing (the cloud) is comprised of three major layers.
- Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) is the foundation that refers to the hardware, storage, and network capabilities.
- Platform as a Service (PaaS) is the middle layer where you build and deliver cloud applications.
- Software as a Service (SaaS) is the top layer that provides business services to consumers.
Now before going to PaaS explanation, I would like to distinguish what is the difference between Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and PaaS.
What is Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)?
When you go to Cloud provider such as Softlayer (I would put IBM the first here for obvious reasons), Amazon, Azure, Google etc., you would order a Server, say with 4 Cores, 16 GB RAM and 200 GB Storage on SAN. The same gets provisioned for you to start using this. That is a classic example of IaaS, where you are getting the Infrastructure such as the Servers, Storage, Firewalls, Load Balancers provisioned for you. Once they are provisioned to you, you would go about installing the necessary software on top of it, and then deploy your application.
What is Platform as a Service (PaaS)?
In Platform as a Service, you would get the Platforms such as the Application Servers, Databases, Mobile Backend as Service etc, provisioned for you on top of the IaaS.
To illustrate this better, let me explain how a Web application works. And post that will relate to what is PaaS. A typical Web Application requires an Application Server and a Database (at least to start with). Without going into the finer details, the Application Server will understand the incoming HTTP requests (when you type http://www.ibm.com in the browser is an HTTP request), process it, and give the response back to the browser. Now the database is where all the data is stored. So now imagine you are going to a Banking site. You would put your login and then you would get things related to Account information such as the Amount in Savings, Fixed Deposits, last 5 transactions etc. Here the processing is done by the Application server and the data of your Account is stored in a Database.
In a PaaS, you would have the Application Server, Database etc provisioned for you. Without you going through the hassles of finding out the OS version, the fix packs, download the Software, install it, and configure it. Once the Platform is provisioned, you would deploy your application in it and offer the services of your application as Software as a Service (SaaS). IBM BlueMIX is the PaaS offering from IBM.
Services provided from IBM Blue mix
Bluemix would offer the Services such as MySQL, Postgress Database, Node.js, Ruby on Rails, Map Reduce etc in a Catalogue. You click on the WebSphere Liberty Profile node in the Catalogue, and a WebSphere Liberty Profile is created for you and is up and running in the Cloud. You click on the MySQL node, the MySQL server is created and running in the Cloud. You need to bind them together and push your Application to them. Yes, even if you are non techie you can try that out.
I gave just two examples, but there are many in the Bluemix which you can avail of. There are IBM provided Services (WebSphere Liberty Profile, Internet of Things, Cloudant, Node.js, Map Reduce, BLU Acceleration, TimeSeries Database, are few examples), there are Open Source Services (MySQL, Postgres, Ruby on Rails, Ruby on Sinatra, Rabbit MQ, MongoDB are few examples) and there are third party services as well (location based services from Pitney Bowes, VOIP-based services on Web and Mobile from Twilio are a few examples).
New Services are added on a regular basis. But there are very interesting services such as Auto Scaling, Application Monitoring which one can explore.
Interaction with IBM blue Mix
For interacting with Bluemix there are many ways, one is through the Bluemix Portal itself. But you can use commands from a command line. These commands are specifying to Cloud Foundry standards. I know I have now introduced one more jargon. So Cloud Foundry is an Open Source PaaS. And Bluemix complies to the Cloud Foundry specifications. Another advantage is that if you find services missing in Bluemix, you can get that from the Cloud Foundry (though w/o IBM support).
You can also interact with Bluemix from Eclipse as well. So you have your app developed in Eclipse and can push that app into the Platform running in Bluemix.
There is another way in which Bluemix one can interact with Bluemix. Which is the DevOps platform provided by IBM. Now you might be wondering what is DevOps. DevOps is a short form of Development and Operations. It is a software development method that helps collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations professionals. Its goal is to help an organization rapidly produce software products and services.
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